Colleen's thoughts on writing, directing and coaching, and her unique take on life itself!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Southland - damn you!

Well, great.

The *last* thing I want to do is get hooked on another TV program.

Honestly, it's tough for me to have much desire to watch a new series because here's what happens:

1. New show begins. The pilot is GREAT. Cool!

2. A few weeks later, just as we're getting sucked into the characters and stories? Reruns. Wait. Didn't this thing just start and already there are reruns?

3. OK, there's a decent if not hit status of ratings and before you know it there's a "break." Either the short "season" is over or there's a slew of reruns until the next ratings period.

4. As soon as we start to look forward to watching the new show? It's ratings week(s) - so "someone in charge" has decided to change the day on which the program airs. No longer Fridays or Thursdays or Mondays or... whatever, now it's shown on (pick a night and try to figure out why they switched).

5. It turns out to be a really terrific show and boom. "Someone in charge" cancels the show.

There is no longer any reason to have allegiance to any program because "someone in charge" is paying attention to someone other than the viewer when it comes to programming.

Or, in the case of Lost, they ignore the audience altogether in order to indulge in a completely disorganized mess of quizzes and puzzles that apparently someone writing and running the show has envisioned on a mushroom trip in the middle of the Sahara Desert after a week without water, food or a break from the sunshine.

After all- wha-?

Oh, right. Southland.

OK, so everyone I know in the biz of show tells me this show is on fire! So completely wonderful, superbly written (Emmy winner super scribe Ann Biderman), acted. Gritty without being gratuitous, human without being crazy, realistic without being gory.

Of course, it started on NBC, but for all the fans who hopped on board - "someone in charge" killed the show. Cancelled. Probably the same "someone in charge" who thought it would be a great idea to put Jay Leno on during prime time five nights a week.

Only this time, like Cagney and Lacey many years ago, fans fought to save the thing.

TNT came through. Recognizing the program's value and excellence.

So I figure I "should" at least get a taste of the show all the people I respect have fallen in love with... or at least have this giant crush on.

They ran a marathon of the shows on TNT leading up to its TNT premiere tonight. I'll catch a few minutes, maybe one show, so at least I can understand what my friends are talking about - I like to at least try to sound informed.

Damn you, Southland!

I should NOT have tasted that first episode. Sure, it was free and so was I - even though I should be writing (what I do for a living, not this), I just *had* to try it.

Thanks, Ann Biderman. Thanks a lot. Here she is with one of the stars, Shawn Hatosy:

After just these few hours of exposure, I can see it now: I'm going to need a 12-step program to deal with Southland. How am I supposed to wait until the following week for the next episode?

Other cop shows aren't personal. They're about catching a case, solving a crime - simple beginning middle and end with, hopefully, some intriguing twists here and there.

Not this one. Southland is personal. It shows these folks being cops, cops with partner problems, family people, single, married, dealing with kids, relatives, romance - failed and successful, strengths, weaknesses, personal issues, sexuality - the mess of real life as well as actual crimes that are committed in this day and age with all the modern complexities of high tech support for the good guys and the bad guys. Not to mention a massive drug culture.

And they don't forget the folks caught in the middle. All the "collateral damage" foisted on innocents who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

So there you have it.

This is an adult drama - with some natural human comedy sprinkled rarely and judiciously - extremely well written and performed, with a sepia tone that is not so dark that it feels creepy, but a photographic technique that accentuates the dramatic nature of the show and emphasizes what we would see if we were actually there.

And I love it.

Congratulations, Ann Biderman, cast and crew of Southland. Congratulations, TNT. Congratulations, fans - who saved the show so folks like me can have a chance to jump on your bandwagon. Good call.

Damn it. Now every Tuesday night at 10pm I have the dilemma between Southland and CBS's The Good Wife. Probably watching Southland and running The Good Wife on DVR right after.

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  • At 11:33 PM, Blogger Digger said…

    You *really* need to get yourself a PVR ceep. Free yourself from the yoke of schedulers. Watch at your own pace, when it suits you. Record a bunch of stuff before you start to watch, so "breaks," "reschedules," and "ratings periods" become a distant memory. And, if something turns out to be shite, hit that Delete key. Simples!

  • At 11:37 AM, Blogger cp said…

    Oy, mate! I have a dvr... I just had no intention of "needing" to watch the show - it just happened to be on so I tuned in .. and without any intention of doing so, got hooked. The dvr is currently set to capture Southland! :-)

  • At 9:36 AM, Blogger Judy Findlay said…

    Holy Crapiola, guess I better watch it!


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